#PrideInFootball brings together supporters inaugural LGBT fans' group conference
In November, LGBT fans from across the country met for the first ever national LGBT fans’ group conference – #PrideinFootball.
Individuals fans and members of 20 different supporters groups met in London to discuss the burning issues affecting LGBT fans and the future of LGBT fans’ groups, and to help establish informal networks and contacts with like-minded fans.
Hosted by Kick It Out and FSF, alongside the Gay Football Supporters’ Network (GFSN) and supported by Football v Homophobia (FvH), #PrideinFootball represented a big step forward for the national co-ordination of LGBT fans’ groups.
Throughout the event, LGBT fans were able to share their experiences and debate campaign matters in a range of workshops and panel discussions. These focussed on campaigning for change within football and how fans’ groups could help tackle discrimination, the mechanisms for reporting homophobic, biphobic and transphobic abuse, and how LGBT groups should be structured.
More than 80 delegates attended the conference – and from the discussion there was general agreement that each of the 20 Premier League clubs should in future have a recognised LGBT group.
Plans were also put in place to establish a formal national umbrella, called Pride In Football, organisation that would bring together all LGBT groups. A further conference was scheduled in Manchester in February 2015 to work on a draft constitution proposed at the London event for the new organisation, and to work out the structure that such an organisation would take.
#PrideinFootball aims to engage not only with established LGBT groups, but to also reach out to fans who are not part of a group, or geographically isolated, so that support, help and encouragement can be offered to those who are thinking about what they can do to play their part in making the football truly inclusive.
Zitta Lomax, from the Gay Gooners supporters group, said: “I feel we are strong together. I believe for LGBT fans’ groups to move forward we need everyone working together.
“Hopefully now we can start joining the dots together to get people working collectively – and that will be through the help of Kick It Out and the FSF.”
Anwar said: “It’s been great to see so many fans from across the country. The day was a great example of how fans can collectively work towards making a difference.
“We have a huge role to play in developing a more welcoming and diverse environment for all supporters at football matches – regardless of their sexuality.”